Sunday, October 11, 2009

Berry Good Beading

On the turn

It's autumn. It's fall. Whatever. The leaves are turning. Crunchy piles of russet, golden and orange gather on the pavements just begging you to kick, jump and stamp in your new boots.

Bejewelled berries

Hedgerow berries sit plump and juicy, embellishing the dense foliage of the wayside, imploring you to gorge yourselves in delicious gluttony, be you bird, beast or morning commuter.

At least, that's how it goes in my mind.

Inspired by the latest AW09 trend for all things shoulder, (and certainly with those gorgeous glimpses of berries adorning trees and bushes not too far from my mind), one of my latest projects that I worked on whilst I was laid up recovering from my op, was this sweater.

Shoulder to Shoulder

When the shops first started receiving delivery of their first AW stock drops in late August/early September, I went to check out what the new season would have to offer, and found many shops doing variations on this theme. Plain sweaters with shoulder-based embellishments. I liked the idea of this look, but did not like the idea of paying the ridiculously inflated prices on what was essentially, an average quality jumper with a few sequins sewn on.

So I did what any self-respecting amateur seamstress would do, and did it myself!

I look moody. I was going for "fierce". This is why I am not America's Next Top Model.

I found that this way, I could search for a good quality of jumper that I knew would last, and design the embellishment to exactly the design that I wanted. It was also a lot of fun!

I found a plain black v-neck fine knit sweater in Gap, which was lovely and soft. It also fitted really nicely. Now that I had my base, I took a trip to the crafter's dream that is John Lewis' Oxford Street Haberdashery. I knew that whatever I was going to sew on would have to be lightweight, as the sweater was a fine knit and wouldn't be able to support too much hardware. So sequins or beading was the order of the day. When I spied the small pot of these tiny golden beads, I knew they would be perfect.

The whole thing worked out a lot cheaper than the original jumpers I was eyeing up in Topshop et al, and I have something unique that I have made with my very own lily-white hands.

Please do try it yourself, it doesn't take long, and the satisfaction and ever-so-slight smug factor of saying 'Oh this old thing? Well, actually, I made it myself' is way worth it. Believe.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Take Me To The Hospital

Get Well Sooooonnn (I am trying)

Hello. I am writing this from my Magical Sofa of Recovery. This weeks post has been slightly delayed as on Monday I had to go into hostipal (hospital) to have an operation.

Don't worry or anything, it wasn't anything life threatening, it was just a simple key-hole procedure to remove my gall bladder. My gall bladder was naughty and didn't work properly. That's not what I wanted, that's not who I was. So it had to go. (If you can guess the film reference, I officially love you). Yes, readers, that is the way I roll. If you don't work for me, you get culled. Because, after all, don't I deserve love? And jewelry?

I call this Early Morning Canula (brought to you by my iPhone)

Kidding. Kind of. Anyway, even though it was a straight forward, fairly common procedure, it was the first time I have ever had to go into hospital, and certainly the first time I have ever had to deal with the scary scary crazy world of general anaesthetic.

However, despite my extreme nerves, the op all went well, and I am now on the road to recovery. A bit sore, but I have lots of pain meds that I like as they make me all sleepy.

(A la Homer Simpson) Bed goes up, bed goes down; bed goes up, bed goes down

I should be back to normal-ish in about 10 days, and aim to use the time that I am not sleeping doing lots of knitting/crafty things from the aforementioned Magical Sofa, so hopefully I should have lots to show you for my period of convalescence!

Until then however, please enjoy the following chooons from my hospital playlist:

I sang this constantly all weekend:

And of course, no playlist is complete without a bit of Dave Grohl (le sigh):

P.S. Big thank you to all the staff at the Annie Zunz ward at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. They do an awesome job :o)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Beginnings

Cutie Booties.

I don't know why, but September, and the beginning of autumn has always felt a lot more like the beginning of the year to me than January. Maybe they are feelings that have hung over from the days when it meant the beginning of the academic year. The last days of summer always feel like the end of something bigger than just a season, and often lead me down the path of taking stock of what I have accomplished in the last 12 months (job/life in London town; growing my awesome hair) and what I want to achieve in the near future (to master fair-isle knitting; go to Australia; find the perfect pair of boots).

Who knows, but this weekend, the weather turned a distinctly crisper, milder corner and I took that as a sign to pack away all my summer clothes for another year and dig out all my warm jumpers, coats, scarves, hats and gloves. Autumn is here, and I'm ready.

For the stylish bambino on the nursery block.

I guess it's fitting that this weekend when I have been preparing for the new season/year ahead that I also finished knitting booties for a brand new person setting out on their first ever year in this life. These are for a beautiful baby girl, daughter of a friend at work, and I have very much enjoyed making them.

Unlike socks, (which can drive me up the WALL, and often lead to me lamenting the fact that people are born with not one, but two feet), booties are a lot quicker to make, and so I don't get that familiar dread on finishing the first sock ('You mean, I have to do that AGAIN?!'). It's still enough of a novelty to get me to persevere.

Pretty cute detailing on the cuff. Frilly.

The pattern for for these was also varied enough to add interest over the course of knitting the booties, with lacework on the cuff, and front, and ribbing down the leg.

So, anyone who knows me and is planning on spawning either now, or in the far distant future: take a good look. All your kids will be getting these.

If you're going to start your first year, it really should be in style, no?

Knitty Gritty:
Pattern: Baby's Bootikin from Knitting Vintage Socks, Nancy Bush
Yarn: One skein each of 2 colours of fingering-weight yarn
Needles: Set of 4 1.75mm dpns

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Family Affair

Boscanova Cafe

Earlier this summer, I got out of the city and went to stay with my family for a couple of weeks in Bournemouth. I had a lovely time hanging out with them and catching up. Now that I live away from home I don't get a chance to do that for such a length of time anymore and I miss it.

On my last day, we went for a family lunch at Boscanova Cafe. If you're ever in the area, check it out. It does really good brunch. Trust. Get the pancakes.

The house chili.. and I haven't just ruined that shot by tucking in... not in the slightest..

What I like about Boscanova, is that it's one of the few (oh so few) really good independant eateries in Bournemouth. Everything is made fresh, with mostly, feel-good, healthy ingredients. This time I got the special, which was the house chili. It was delicious.

Bro-fo, coke float.

Although, if you're anything like my brother, you'll choose a coke float. Some things, by their very nature are not made with feel-good, healthy ingredients.

But if they were, I don't think they'd taste quite as awesome, no? And why say no to a little bit of awesomeness in your life?

Cappuccino-a-go-go - I love how the chocolate flecks reflect the speckled wood. Er. Well done me.

I, being the caffeine, Starbucks-obsessed girl that I am, had to have a cappuccino. Which came in a decent sized mug. That is also, quite a little bit of awesome.


Er, irrelevant, but:

P.S. Download Calvin Harris' new album. Do it now. You'll never regret it. Er, also irrelevant but, I just want to give him a nice big cuddle.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lemon Drizzle, Bizzle Schizzle

Lemon Drizzle

Right, so my camera is working again. Seems it's like me. It won't get out of bed unless it's shown a bit of attention!

So I'm back. I'm back on a regular basis. And I'm glad, I've missed this weekly-ish process of capturing little gorgeous moments in my life and taking time to reflect on them. They are hard to see sometimes, but they are there.

But first I have a bit of catching up to do on what I've been up to this summer.

In June it was my Mum's birthday, or bizzle schizzle, as I am known to call these things. I was keen to make this a special birthday, as I had missed her 50th last year as I was having the year of my life, in the best city in the world.

Bizzle Schizzle

To celebrate the occasion, and make it one of the best birthdays ever, I invited Mum, and my sister to visit me in London. They stayed for a few days. We hit up Wahaca, with all its yummy Mexican delights and copious glasses of mojitos. We went to see Oliver! in the West End, with the always awesome Rowan Atkinson, totally owning the role of Fagin: we were all on such a high when we left the theatre. And then, for an extra special amazing treat, my sister and I treated Mum to afternoon tea at Claridges. Mum, as an avid lover of both tea and afternoons (she can't get out the house before noon) was in her element.

But of course, all of that paled in comparison to the super amazing Lemon Drizzle Cake that I made her.

I didn't want to make a chocolatey or heavy cake as we were in the midst of a super HOTT heatwave, so I wanted something fairly light and summery. In the end, I followed Jamie Oliver's recipe, and it worked a treat. As well as lemon juice and peel in the cake mixture and in the drizzly sticky yummy icing, the recipe called for a lemon sugar syrup glaze to be made and poured into the cake once it had come out of the oven. I used a cocktail stick to prick holes all over the cake so that the glaze could seep right down deep.

Once cooled and iced, the cake was moist, lemony, sweet and summery. Perfect Lemon Drizzle Bizzle Schizzle for the Moomin Mama. Big love xxx

And in Any Other Business:

1) Am I the latest one to the Alphabeat party or what? I have just discovered This is Alphabeat. What a slice of perfect pop

2) I am all over Around The World. Promise. I am just waiting for some photos to be developed before I can crack on!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Enforced Hiatus Kinda

A photo from the archives... *sniff* ...RIP camera

I know. I KNOW!

My last entry was May. MAY!

I feel I owe an explanation. I swear, I was never meant to be away this long!

Basically not long after the Brighton trip in my last entry, I did, what can only be described as one of The World's Most Stupid Things, and accidentally spilt water on my camera. My camera: my pride and joy. 

Since then, it hasn't really been the same. It is temperamental: works sometimes, and other times not. The latter being normally when I really really need it to. Sad mother-humping times. 

I have been hoping that the situation would be rectified by now, but it really still isn't. I am still being let down by my camera. And without pictures, I feel my blog is hugely hugely lacking, hence no updates.

On the bright side, I'm saving for a new camera, and in the meantime intend to update when I have managed to get anything out of my existing broken one.

Thank you for all the comments on the last post, especially those people who have found me through Dapper Kid. I am the next person to take part in his Around the World project and am super excited about it. Don't worry, even if I have to beg, borrow or steal a camera to document that, there will be an entry on here about it!

So apologies if updates are going to be sporadic for the foreseeable future, but I hope to get everything back on track as soon as is financially, and camera-ly possible.

Peace and love homies xx

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Something is afoot..

Friday evening. 5pm. Scores of hard working ordinary people leave the office. They flood onto the sun-dappled streets, each step a little lighter. Each pace, their shoulders more relaxed. Every second, the frown lines start to melt away.

But this Friday, more so.  Because this Friday there is the long delicious prospect of three clear days ahead. Three days to be filled with fun. With sun. With the prospect of anything-goes.

For this is the Great British Bank Holiday.


Ok, well, maybe it's not always the sun part. But the fact is that when a bank holiday happens, the only place to go is the beach. Where the mere wisp of possible sunshine is grabbed onto and strangled with both hands; willing temperatures to soar, if only in our minds. Where one ray peeking from behind a cloud, is the only excuse you need to shed your normal clothes and parade around in something that you would feel a little chilly in sitting indoors, if truth be told.


Last weekend, was one such weekend. And we were actually lucky enough to have one really super massive hot late spring day. One of those days when, if you sit still, and bask in the sun, a cardigan feels like far too stuffy a thing to be wearing.  One of those days that gives you a tantalising glimpse of the long summer of potential ahead.

I literally can't sea enough food

We took the decision earlier that week, that weather permitting, we would take a trip to Brighton

Weather certainly seemed to be playing ball, so one 40 minute train ride later, we rolled into the station and found our way down to the shore.

End of the pier fun

I grew up in another British seaside town, Bournemouth, so I never really had the drive or the inclination to travel to somewhere that was essentially the same, in my mind, but stony of beach (as opposed to Bournemouth's sand).

What a fool.


Brighton reminds me of Bournemouth, in as much as it's by the sea and comes with all the usual seaside trimmings. 

But it's that much nicer in so many ways.  The architecture is far more historic.  You don't have to pay just to walk on the pier.  Stones really aren't that uncomfortable to sit on.

Recline why don't you?

Brighton is prettier, quainter yet still with a cool edge. In comparison, Bournemouth is like its younger sister who tries too hard. And ruins their (probably) quite naturally pretty face with far too much make-up in an effort to keep up. And by that I mean, it's built far too many modern buildings and entertainments completely unsympathetically to its historical surroundings, so that the seafront is no longer quaint, but rather garish and loud.

Fro-yo in The Laines

And don't even get me started on the shops in Bournemouth.  It's long been a sore subject with me. There are slim to no independent boutiques, eateries or pubs in the centre of town any more, rather everything is a corporate sellout.  In contrast, not far from the beach, Brighton has a lovely shopping experience known as The Laines, with very few chain stores to be found.


I mean don't get me wrong, I love a lot of things about Bournemouth's surrounding area. The New Forest, The Purbecks and the gorgeous town of Christchurch all have a dear place in my heart.  

But Bournemouth itself has lost its way.

If you want to see a big British seaside town done well, and done right, go to Brighton.

Can't get enough of those waltzers..

Like Bournemouth, but better.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Keep Me Posted

Wish you were here...

Everybody likes post. I know I do.  Especially unexpected post. Not bills, or junk mail, but proper post.  Just those little notes to cheer people up, make someone's day, tell them good news and let them know they were thinking of you.

Postcards: 30p; Gemstones: 1.50; Labour: 2 hrs; Having someone know you care: Super Safe, Yo

These postcards were something I made when I moved to London to let friends and family know of my new address.  Rather than send the lame "I've moved" pre-prepared notelets you can buy in shops that have no personality whatsoever, I decided to find the cheesiest London postcards in the world and customize them by gluing individual gemstones spelling out "I've moved" instead.

I suppose that yes, it did take longer than just filling in the template of a pre-prepared notelet. But that's not the point. The point is I used my creativity, my hands, and time to make something small but unique to send a message to the people I love.  And to me, that's worth it.

Goodies from afar!

There's someone else who knows the value of post for making people feel special.  Amber from CodeForSomething has recently been on a bit of a travel extravaganza in the Far East.  She wrote a post that touched on a lot of the points that I have above, and ended it with the generous offer of sending a little token something from her travels to anyone that wanted it.

Pamphlet from Barbie Shanghai

I entirely agreed with everything she had to say on the subject, and of course, I was not going to let an opportunity for fun post go to waste!

I emailed Amber to let her know where to send her post to, and waited.  I was really only expecting a postcard, but Amber did so much better than that!

Good luck money

She had sent me lots of small tidbits of her travels: Asian money (I believe this is good luck?) in a red envelope, an explanatory postcard, and a pamphlet from the super massive Barbie store in Shanghai! I thought that was so thoughtful, as when Amber reported on this mecca for brand-lovers everywhere on her blog, I had commented to say that I loved the look of it.  So to include this was super special!

Thank you Amber! And for the rest of you, think about how personalised post makes you feel, and next time you have the opportunity, take some time out to try and help someone feel the same. It'll make someone smile. Promise!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter egg-cerpts

"I've nested on a cake... and what?"

I'd recommend you get a nice cup of tea/coffee/insert your own favourite beverage here, before you start reading this.  It's a bumper post of epic proportions. 

I've taken a wee mini break from blogging to fully immerse myself in all that Easter had to offer. As you can see the first thing I did was to make an Easter cake, from my Kitchen Revolution book.  Unfortunately, whilst it looked lovely, the mini-eggs that were supposed to be found throughout the cake, all sunk to the bottom. Boo! But it gave some wayward chicks a home for a few days, so it can't be all bad!

One a penny, two a penny

For Easter weekend, the whole family gathered together at my aunties house.  After an Easter Sunday breakfast of hot cross buns, the Easter Egg Hunt planning begins.

Making tokens of chocolatey affection

After the eggs have all been hidden, the briefing of the troups begins: laying down the ground rules (it was wet, so all indoors; and no pushing, shoving, biting, scratching, eye-gauging or fish-hooking).

Dad = full brief mode; Troups = bemused

After the briefing, the specialist egg-finding equipment is dished out (ok, plastic bowls), and let the finding commence!

Happy happy joy joy

My brother was quick off the mark, scoring four mini eggs in quick succession after a particularly fruitful root around the mantlepiece.

The staircase was less successful

The troups scoured high and low: no ornament or book was left unturned!

Until, finally, success. All tokens (to be exchanged for big boxed eggs) and mini eggs were accounted for.

Later, in the afternoon, sunshine and roast dinners sprung forth:

And then, later, much much later, the best part of Easter, the ceremonial eating of all your Easter eggs as fast as is physically possible without making yourself ill.

And we're all pros at that..


Hope everybody else had a great Easter weekend!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Where She Only Needed To Add The Treacle

Fork off... it's mine..

On Saturday, I bought two important additions to the house. One of these was a flan dish, and the other was a rolling pin. 

Now, I thought, this is brilliant. Not only can I make nice tarts and things, but I can also chase my unruly housemates around when they misbehave, in a comedy fifties housewife fashion.

Plate courtesy of Holly Patton's GreenGate collection

No, let's be serious. The rolling pin was so that I could make my very first attempt at pastry from scratch! None of this shop manufactured malarky! Actual, old-fashioned flour, butter and eggs pastry. And what better to do with it than to make a nice, lovely, gorgeous, sticky and sweet treacle tart? 

Don't you just want to rub your face in your screen right now? No? Just me?

With cream. Yes, lashings and lashings of gorgeous cream. 

Oh, in other news, I joined the gym today.

These two events are unrelated.